Congress recently passed a substantial spending bill, signed into law by President Biden, which upholds the tradition of allocating significant funds for border security in various Middle Eastern countries. This decision comes amidst ongoing debates about how best to secure the U.S. border. The $1.2 trillion package encompasses funding for defense, homeland security, and other agencies, setting aside $380 million until September 2025 to support enhanced border security efforts in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman. Notably, $150 million of this allocation is specifically designated for Jordan. This provision has been a part of several omnibus budgets in recent years, drawing criticism from some Republicans who view it as excessive spending, particularly when there are concerns about border security within the United States.

Despite bipartisan support for the spending package to prevent a government shutdown, it has faced significant opposition from conservative lawmakers. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana highlighted concerns in 2022, criticizing the allocation for border security in foreign countries while issues persist at the U.S. southern border. The legislation sparked further controversy, leading Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia to file a motion to remove Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana from his role as House speaker, accusing him of betraying the confidence of the House GOP Conference by facilitating the bill’s passage.

This allocation of funds occurs against the backdrop of a historic migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, marked by record numbers of migrant encounters in February. Additionally, Congress remains divided on how to effectively secure the border and manage the influx of migrants. The Biden administration has advocated for bipartisan border funding legislation negotiated earlier in the year, which includes provisions for staffing, technology, support for NGOs and communities housing migrants, and temporary measures to address surges in migrant encounters. However, conservatives argue that such measures would only exacerbate existing issues with illegal immigration. Amidst differing perspectives, there is a recognition that the immigration system is in need of reform and adequate funding to address the ongoing crisis.

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